Out to Lunch

March 16th, 2010 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in Dining out with kids | Out and About
It is rare that we venture out to lunch or dinner with five tots in tow but over the course of the past month, we’ve actually done both. We went out to lunch for Valentine’s Day – and oh yes, trying to eat a burrito while ducking the flying sippy cups and picking crayons up off the floor was very romantic indeed! Even so, it beat cooking and cleaning up for a change – especially since, let’s face it, burritos are not typically on the lunch menu here at the Lyons Den!

Our dinner outing proved to be even more of an adventure. On a recent Sunday night, we decided to check out a new restaurant in town after we dragged the kids to the 5:00 mass. That’s right, we dragged all five kids to mass. And then, after shushing the big ones and wrestling the little ones for the better part of an hour, we thought it would be a swell idea to take them out in their Sunday best for a fine meal. Um, yeah, right. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fine meal indeed – but good grief, what a MESS we left behind! And, given the amount of time I once again spent on the floor – this time picking up Cheerios, oyster crackers, goldfish, fish sticks, French fries, sippy cups, napkins, sticker books, spoons, etc.! – I started to wonder if it’s worth the hassle of dining out with so many kids.

Our fellow diners couldn’t help but make comments like “Wow, you’re very brave. We only had TWO kids and we NEVER ate out!” To which I’d perkily reply “Well, I suppose we are very brave… or possibly just insane… time will tell!” Because, of course, when dining out with kids, it’s really all about the timing… how fast can we order, how quickly can the kitchen whip up (or in the case of the kids, deep fry!) our meal, and how quickly can we shove it in before there is a meltdown of sorts.

Admittedly, this race against the clock doesn’t necessarily sound like a recipe for a fun night out. In retrospect though, we did have a good time. We left with our bellies full and, for better or worse, with someone else to clean up the mess we left behind. And the more I think about it, the more I can’t help but feel sorry for those TWO kids who NEVER ate out. What a shame it would be to simply stay home for fear of that aforementioned meltdown or flying sippy cup. And really, what is dining out if not a lesson for kids in how to behave? To practice their “Ps & Qs” (as in Please and ThankQs) and be justly rewarded for good behavior with a brownie sundae or some other such delight that would never be served at home. At the end of the day, I’m not sure if I am/we are very brave or perhaps slightly insane. But, I do know that the sidelong glances I get whenever we eat out with our five little “cubs” would suggest there are many out there who think that I truly am “out to lunch”… in more ways than one!

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